5 Steps for Successful Email Communication

5 Steps for Successful Email Communication

Get Out of Your Stories Emails are dangerous because of the gap in communication elements. No tone, no body language, no context. As humans, our first instinct is to create a story to give us perspective on the message. This is how we decide our boss is fuming mad when we get a one-liner email. Or, how we decide Susan has too much time on her hands when she sends a four-paragraph email, the first and last of which are more like engaging in small talk. If you aren’t in face to face dialogue with the other person, you really don’t know.  Here are 5 easy steps for successful email communication. 1. Stop with the stories Take the actual message for what it is. If it’s not clear or context and perspective matter to your next action, clean it up first. Pick up the phone or go see the sender. Don’t be the person creating this week’s office drama because of a story you made up because you were too lazy to get the facts. 2. Know Yourself Take 5 minutes and look at your inbox. What details about the emails you process each day make it more or less likely you’ll engage? What makes it easiest or hardest for you to take action? Whose emails do you like most and whose do you like least? Why? (other than you just don’t like the message/data they’re sending) For example, I personally like emails with the specific required action stated first and a bullet point list if necessary.  Support or background info is OK, and I want it last with...
How to Have Awkward Conversations At Work

How to Have Awkward Conversations At Work

Addressing Policy Issues with a Direct Report In case you couldn’t guess what month it is, just walk into any major retail store. The arrival of spooky, creepy, and haunting decor is the hallmark of the month of October in the United States. Halloween reminds us that there are scary elements to this world and the worlds beyond. So, what better time to talk about one of the scariest things you may have to do this Halloween season – engage an employee in a policy discussion! EEK! If you’re in a leadership role, talking to your employees about policy issues such as hygiene, dress code, poor work performance etc. comes with the territory. When it comes to sharing this news, there is an effective way to handle the situation… and a not so effective way. While there are many versions of effective and (especially) ineffective, the framework of these two scenarios remains relatively static. In one scenario, the tools of enacting a tough conversation are implemented (Hint: effective). In the other, they aren’t- it’s really that simple (Hint: ineffective). Taking the “Boo!” Out of Feedback When you are delivering feedback to a direct report, especially if it’s negative, it’s best not to shock them with the news. Most people don’t enjoy having these conversations, much less feeling as though they are out of the blue. Base your approach on the severity of the infraction and the specific employee. For example, if a high performer with little to no mishaps comes in wearing jeans when they should be wearing slacks, there is no need to make a big production of it. This employee rarely, if ever, does...
[Lucrative Lookback] 2 Sure-Fire Ways to Quiet Your Inner Commentator

[Lucrative Lookback] 2 Sure-Fire Ways to Quiet Your Inner Commentator

In this Lucrative Lookback, we’ll share 2 ways you can conquer your inner commentator. You know, the inner voice that goes through all your lunch options during the mid-morning meeting. Here are 2 ways to successfully hush your inner commentator: 1. Acknowledge & Accept It. We all have an inner voice, constantly making noise inside our skulls. Sometimes it’s our best friend, telling us we look way better in that pair of shoes than we do. Other times, it’s tearing us down and acting like a bit of jerk. Almost all of the time, it’s working hard to distract us from being present during conversations, especially Tough Conversations. Of course, those are the ones we should be most present in. Most of us try to control it, getting into an argument with it. Like a toddler throwing a tantrum, the harder we try to calm it down, the louder our inner commentator gets. Instead of trying to control it, the best way to deal with our inner commentator is to acknowledge we have one, then accept it. The idea is to quiet it, not remove it. Take this moment to let your inner commentator know you’re on to it, and you’re turning the volume down. 2. Use the Skills for Being Present. There are 3 skills we can use to keep ourselves in the moment and out of our heads: 1. Inquire, 2. Paraphrase, 3. Acknowledge. When we Inquire, we’re tapping into that all important communication tool, curiosity, and asking questions we genuinely want the answer to. “How do you see it?” “What details do you have I may...
Hurricane Harvey: What We Can Learn From it and How to Help

Hurricane Harvey: What We Can Learn From it and How to Help

Our hearts go out to all of our friends, family, and clients in Texas who are coping with Hurricane Harvey, the event of a lifetime. Personally, I am very blessed to be in Georgetown, Texas with my family and with no negative impact. In the absence of being able to be on the ground or in a boat, we have donated to several great charities that are providing relief. See the links below if you feel moved to help from afar. Throughout this experience, I was reminded repeatedly that there is so much more that unites us than divides us. That our hearts and souls are the threads that bind us. The political nonsense and labeling on everyone’s social media stream are now gone. In their place are resources, love, and compassion. I find myself wondering how to be a part of maintaining this level of care, once the crisis has passed. The importance of clear communication has also been highlighted. When someone was asking for help in the over 2,000 rescues (as of writing this), they needed to be very clear on where they were so they could be located. With the many sources of support that were coming through, clarity of message was crucial for resources to be accessed. The Cajun Navy even had walkie talkie apps that were specific to them completing their job. There are even systems in place to check-in as “safe” so your loved ones can see you are okay, even when you may not be able to communicate directly. Early on, the lack of alignment between state and local government about whether...
[Lucrative Lookback] How to Quiet Your Inner Commentator to Listen Better

[Lucrative Lookback] How to Quiet Your Inner Commentator to Listen Better

We’ve all been there… Someone starts talking, and though we may look like we’re listening, a dozen things are going through our heads, preventing us from truly listening. This can be especially true if the other person said something that sparked an emotion. Effective conversations require us to use clear, concise communication AND be present. Whether you feel the conversation is good or bad, having the inner commentator in our heads distracting us is no good. (Watch just how off-the-wall you inner commentator can be in this video!) So, what is the inner commentator? Everyone has an inner commentator. Also referred to as our inner critic, the inner commentator is simply the voice in our head that distracts us from being present. As the video demonstrates, it can be an internal battle on how to react to someone. Perhaps you’re preparing your response so it comes out just right…which might not make sense if you didn’t hear everything the other person said. No matter what your inner commentator is saying, it is distracting! The bad news about our inner commentator. Unfortunately, our inner commentator works 24/7, 7 days a week. It’s constantly chattering in your head, telling you what to think, how to feel, and sometimes to cast judgment on others. The good news about our inner commentator. Here’s the good news: we can train our inner commentator to quiet down and allow us to be present. The easiest way to do this is to Try Curiosity. Trying Curiosity means we are consciously choosing to be in inquiry about the other person’s Story. It is a state of being...
Listen Up Leaders: How Body Language Plays a Crucial Role in Communication

Listen Up Leaders: How Body Language Plays a Crucial Role in Communication

Most people are aware that body language is a crucial part of communication. What most people take for granted is just how important it is to leadership. Yep, that’s right! The placement of your arms, your posture, even the way you cross your legs communicates something to your team members. Being aware of the way you present yourself to people could just give you the edge you’ve been searching for in your leadership and/or communication style. It almost seems unfair to give you one more thing to think about when you’re presenting or having a conversation. You have to make sure your dress is audience appropriate, you’re knowledgeable about what you’re saying, your word choice is intelligent, concise, and work appropriate, not to mention your presentation materials, and now you’re expected to pay attention to your body language? Yes, it’s a lot to ask, but you’re capable and can definitely handle it! So, let’s look into why this is such a vital part of leading. Establishing Your Presence If you’ve ever seen someone speak in front of a room, and immediately thought, “Wow, they must be important”, a huge part of that probably has something to do with their body language, specifically their power pose. A power pose is usually one that makes you appear large in your space. For example, a wide stance with your legs and large gestures with your arms make you look bigger by helping you occupy a larger space. This unconsciously gets people’s attention and records in their brain as “big and important”. Remember, all people have a limbic system, or “animal brain”, which subconsciously operates. It’s the same system that...